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Monday, January 12, 2009
Iranian, foreign archaeologists return to 8000-year-old site in southern Iran
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- A team of Iranian, Australian, and British archaeologists has recently begun the fifth season of excavation at the 8000-year-old site in Sorvan near Nurabad Mamasani in Fars Province.
An Iranian-Australian team’s joint efforts in late 2007 led to the discovery of the ruins of an Achaemenid palace at the site, which is believed to be the Achaemenid city of Lidoma that has been named in a collection of ancient tablets previously unearthed at Persepolis.
The prehistoric area of Tol-e Nurabad and the Achaemenid structure at the site will be studied by the team, Iranian director of the team Alireza Asgari told the Persian service of CHN on Sunday.
Tol-e Nurabad has a 6000 year archaeological sequence beginning in the Neolithic period (ca. 6000 BC) and extending to the post-Achaemenid period in the 1st millennium BC.
The team is also slated to survey the effects of climate changes over the past 10,000 years on residential areas in the region during this season of studies, which will be continued in February, Asgari added.
Cameron Petrie of the University of Cambridge and Iranian archaeologist Alireza Sardari head the team in the prehistoric studies section, and Asgari and Lloyd Weeks of the University of Nottingham will direct the team in the Achaemenid studies at the site.
“Mamasani is the second most important ancient region of Far Province after Marvdasht,” Asgari noted.
“It is the key to the history of the land located between Susa and Persepolis,” he explained.
The Achaemenid palace was reburied in August 2008 due to lack of an appropriate plan necessary for the preservation of the site.
The structure covers an area of 1500 square meters and its original height has been estimated at 14 meters, based on the width of the column footings unearthed at the site.
The remains of stairs, halls, column bases, and the original stone surface of the structure along with numerous marble artifacts had been unearthed during previous seasons of excavation.
The ruins also include a 30-meter long hallway with a flagstone floor. It is believed that it was originally an iwan. The walls of the iwan have been constructed from stairs of crenellated stones.
The column bases and stairs of crenellated walls are very similar to those belonging to the Sad-Sotun Palace at Persepolis.
Photo: An Achaemenid palace discovered by the Iranian-Australian archaeological team in Sorvan near Nurabad Mamasani in Fars Province was excavated in late 2007. Archaeologists believe it is part of the Achaemenid city of Lidoma. (Alireza Asgari)